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Letter to Dr. Sarah Sidis from Dr. Herbert Kalmus

re Establishment of An Early Education Center at U. Miami


Hollywood, California

Herbert T. Kalmus, President                  6311 Romaine Street


 February 15,1950

Dr. Sarah M. Sidis
The University of Miami
Miami(University Branch)

Dear Dr. Sidis:

        There is no memory of any friend that I hold more dear than that of Dr. Boris Sidis. I need not tell you how close we were and how greatly I admired his ingenuity, his ability, and especially his character and personal qualities. He was a great pioneer in his chosen field of abnormal psychiatry.

        Hence I was very much interested to learn from you that the University of Miami is planning with you the establishment of a department bearing the name of your illustrious husband, which would be dedicated to the pursuance of education along the lines for which he stood. This would especially emphasize the education of parents and teachers to the end that the education of children might be started at an earlier age than is customary and with special attention to the elimination of fear.

        I note in the memorandum you gave me, dated July 5,1949, the following: Immediate Future Needs for the Accomplishment of the Objective: 1. A building with essential equipment for child training. 2. a Capital investment for operating continuity. 3. Amplification of staff for administrative, research and instructional purposes. 4. Publication in which the program and its development can be disseminated.

        You have asked me for suggestions and to let you know what, if anything, I might be willing and able to contribute.

        I think the sum of money required for such a project would be considerable, certainly many times more than I could contribute as an individual in these days of high taxes. In order to let me think more definitely about it, I would need to receive the following:

A. A statement from a proper officer of the University of Miami that the University is interested in this project and in making it a department of the University. This statement should carry with it the assurance that any contribution made would be deductible from income in an United states Income Tax Return.

B. A statement of what cash or other contri butions the University itself proposed to make.

C. A formal plan embodying the four items you enumerated from which one could see what the University's estimates are of the total amount of money required, the progress steps along the way, and a time schedule.

       I think beyond this that it would be well if the University were sufficiently interested to want to push this program that they add to their letter or report some general statements which would assure the prospective contributor that the University stood for progressive Americanism and that its policy and attitude are such as to be entirely free from any taint of Communism. I have no doubt but that is the case, but nevertheless if I were representing the University and anxious to obtain contributions I would find language to express this thought without offense to anybody.

       If these points were all covered satisfactorily, they might suggest further questions. The establishment of such an institution takes patience and time. The only further question that I think of at the moment is when the payment of the contribution would be required. As you no doubt know, if the contribution is deductible under the United states Tax Law, it is only deductible in any year to the extent of 15 per cent of the income during that year upon which taxes are paid. In other words, a man with from :50,000 to $100,000 of income could only make a deductible contribution of somewhere between $7,500 and $15,000, and inasmuch as he probably already has made or has committed himself to some gifts, these figures represent the maximum he could give and have it deductible.

      For my part I have already committed myself for the year of 1950 to the full extent of 15 per cent of my income for the year. I am, however, sufficiently interested in the memory of Dr. Sidis and in your own endeavor to be willing to say that if the answers from the University to these points were satisfactory, and likewise to any other questions that their answers may suggest, I would probably be willing to make a contribution in the amount of $10,000 payable in January 1951.

      It was certainly grand seeing you again and you have the very best wishes of Mrs. Kalmus and myself for every success in your undertaking. As this letter will convey, I think it of the utmost importance in raising funds that the University stand squarely behind you and that it be made clear to what extent it would support the enterprise. I shall look for a letter from the University and I hope it will be of such nature as to make it possible for me to contribute $10,000 as I have indicated in this letter.

           With every good wish,


 /s/   Herbert T. Kalmus

Dr. Herbert T. Kalmus; shl


Note: Dr. kalmus invented Technicolor.